DownBeat March 2021

Zankel enlisted pianist and AACM cofounder Muhal Richard Abrams. Soundpath , originally a 90-minute piece, premiered in 2012withAbrams serving as conductor. According to Zankel’s liner-notes essay, Muhal “gave generous improvi- sational space to all of the assembled musicians,” though this studio rendering of the uninterrupt- ed piece is just over 40minutes. The recording was made in Philadelphia fol- lowing a live performance at the October Revolution festival in October 2018, about a year after Abrams died at the age of 87. Zankel called on a frequent Abrams collaborator, saxophon- ist Marty Ehrlich, to conduct the ensemble, who complemented a core of Philadelphia players and ringers from New York. The result is redolent of the kind of harmonic density and contrapuntal writing that distinguished the composer’s music. The improvisations flow organically, erupting from the shape-shifting landscape with meticu- lously plotted grace, reinforcing Abrams’ gift for both writing complex ensemble-oriented music and respecting the individual voice of the cast.  —Peter Margasak Soundpath: Soundpath. (40:34) Personnel: Marty Ehrlich, Bobby Zankel, JulianPressley, alto saxophone; Robert DeBellis, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; HafezModirzadeh, tenor saxophone;MarkAllen, baritone saxophone; DaveBallou, Dwayne Eubanks, JoshEvans, trumpet; GrahamHaynes, cornet; Steve Swell,Michael Dessen, AlfredPatter- son, trombone; JoseDavilla, bass trombone; TomLawton, piano;

TheWarriors Of The Wonderful Sound

Soundpath CLEAN FEED 556 HHHH

For nearly two decades, veteranPhiladelphia sax- ophonist BobbyZankel has helmedTheWarriors OfTheWonderful Sound, andwhile the big band originally focused on his own large-scale com- positions, it increasingly has brought in outside composers. The group has performed a concert of Julius Hemphill big-band pieces and com- missioned new work by the likes of Rudresh Mahanthappa and Steve Coleman. And in 2011,

Michael Formanekbass; ChadTaylor, drums. Ordering info:

Patricia Brennan Maquishti VALLEY OF SEARCH 005 HHH 1/2

The sheer tonality of Patricia Brennan’s marim- ba and vibraphone summon the concept of freedom. It’s one of the reasons why the percus- sionist titled her debut Maquishti , a word from the Nahuatl language—native to parts of cen- tral and southern Mexico, including Brennan’s home state of Veracruz—that means libera- tion. And a unique sort of independence shines through on each of the album’s 12 original pieces. Opening with “Blame It,” the tune intro- duces Brennan’s vibraphone, using moderate amounts of reverb and dampening to show- case the instrument’s ethereal but familiar character. The melody, however, demonstrates Brennan’s embrace of freedom and morphs from sparsely discordant to distinctly mod- ern with chromatic patterns. “Solar” seeming- ly builds on these qualities, as the improvised piece immediately presents an even looser fre- netic flow of notes with shifting tonal centers. The gradual integration of additional effects— notes decaying with character akin to the soft beeps of a radar—fosters an almost alien ambiance. And “Point Of No Return” incor- porates binder clips to give Brennan’s per-

formance a rattling, unsettling quality while expanding the concept of what sounds a vibra- phone can create. Comfort with long silences and slowly building apexes typify Brennan’s masterful touch as an improvisor. But her more conven- tional performances—as on “Derrumbe De Turquesas”—are just as creative and impact- ful, and imbue Maquishti with a beautiful rev- elry.  —Kira Grunenberg Maquishti: Blame It; Solar; ImprovisationVI; Sonnet; Episodes; Improvisation III;Magic Square; ImprovisationVII; I Like For You ToBe Still; PointOf NoReturn; Away FromUs; DerrumbeDe Turquesas. (56:42) Personnel: PatriciaBrennan, vibraphone,marimba. Ordering info:


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